The Gathering Storm Book Tour, Scottsdale Public Library, Phoenix Arizona 16 November 2009Edit

Report by kcfEdit

Here's a summary of my Q&A and other time spent with Brandon as a SL. (it may warrant it's own post, but I'll post it here first and we go from there).

There will eventually be a pretty detailed blog post about me meeting Brandon and the whole SL experience, but that’ll be a few a few days coming.

I will say that meeting and ‘hanging out’ with Brandon was both a privilege and an honor. He’s a very nice guy that immediately knew who I was from my blog – which lead to my exclaiming to the group ‘he’s heard of me’. Later he said that he was very happy to see that I had been chosen a SL, umm, wow, that was pretty cool. We (fans) need to all be extremely thankful to Brandon for doing this – he is on tour for 4 weeks away from his family, literally being in an airport on planes every day, eating out all the time, etc. The toll is beginning to show, show we need to all express our gratitude for what he’s been doing for the fans. For ToM, expect a shorter tour – 2 weeks, with another 2 week tour for the WoK.

OK, on to the Q&A. The questions and answers are not exact, but I was taking notes (not that I can read my chicken scratch). I will also include my own commentary and interpretation. Brandon very much wants to be forthcoming with answers – he doesn’t seem to like RAFO. Mostly it would be something like ‘I can’t answer that, but I will say …’ Unfortunately, I didn’t get to ask many spoilery questions about TGS because one SL hadn’t finished yet – this means that my craving for more info about Verin, the BA and such was not meant to be. The questions below are what I intended to ask – I didn’t necessarily ask them word for word as written - and many are from suggestions here and at

Q: Have any characters we’ve seen been converted to the Shadow via the 13 Myddraal/13 channelers method? Has this method been used at the BT?

A: RAFO (wow the first question and I got RAFO’d). But he did go on to say that this is a ‘gun on the mantle’, which refers to an old saying that ‘when you put a gun on the mantle in the first act, it needs to be used by the third’

My interpretation: More on this will come in ToM.

Q: What’s up with Rand’s sword? Was it LTT’s?

A: There are some really good theories out there on the message boards and I don’t have anything to add on this.

I followed up on where it was found, basically ‘In water, under a statue, not near Falme’

Q: Did Graendal use compulsion on Ituralde when they met previously in LOC? Is it still there?


This lead to quite a bit of discussion. Basically, Graendal pretty much uses compulsion on everyone she interacts with. He also asked if it had been revealed that King Asalam’s (sp?) letters were revealed to be fake. I went into our discussion here and Dom’s interpretation in particular. Brandon seemed to like it. He also said that if Ituralde was compulsed, that it’s still there – Rand’s ta’vern does not have the power to break compulsion. And he said that it’s certain that Ituralde was under the influence of Graendal.

My interpretation: He was compulsed. It’s still there, but since Asalam is dead, it most likely doesn’t matter anymore.

Q: Please tell me all you can about the potential novella that fills in holes? What holes? Who? Where will it be published if written? Is this material that you really wanted to include in ToM or TGS but just couldn’t fit in? How does this match up with your feeling about not writing other stuff in the WOT world?

A: There are about 50,000 words of secondary plots that Sanderson wants to include in ToM. He’s just not sure all of it will get into the book. If something gets cut, he’d like to get to his fans on his website.

This lead to quite a bit of discussion about ToM. It will be a very different book that TGS. TGS was very intentionally focused. Brandon felt strongly that a ‘hit’ wasn’t good enough, that TGS needed to be a home run. (At the table, we all thought it was a home run). ToM will need to catch up many plot threads and will be much less focused. This will have its problems and it will be a big struggle to find the right balance – they aren’t there yet in the writing process. Brandon mentioned a few plots as examples which strongly suggests they will be in ToM – Loial, Lan, Fain, Taim, Logain, Elayne, if Mat does what fans think he will, etc.

My impression is that the novella, will actually be a series of prologue-like scenes that just don’t make it into the final book.

This also lead to lots of discussion on the Encyclopedia. It will include lots of spoilery stuff that doesn’t make it into the books. But, there are several examples in the notes where RJ specifically says that certain plots will not be revealed. Someone asked about Meiriel – the AS in Caemlyn who ran away with a Sea Folk apprentice. It was implied that this may be a thread that goes unresolved.

Q: Can you clear up the timeline issues? How do Mat, Perrin, Rand, and Egwene all match up in the timeline?

A: TGS begins sometime in April. It ends around the end of June/beginning of July. However, Perrin advanced very little – only about 2 weeks. Mat advanced a bit more, but was still about a month behind Rand and Egwene (this gets an astrix as a MAFO), but Mat traveled to Caemlyn about 30 days before the end of the book – he emphasized 30 days and asked if I understood the significance of that – I said that I do. (Interpretation: Mat will open Verin’s letter very early in ToM).

Tuon’s timeline jumps around the most. In KOD she ended about a month ahead of everyone else. There were probably (MAFO) about 2 weeks between her meeting with Rand and the launch of the attack on the WT.

Q: How does Nynaeve compare with Semirhage in OP strength?

A: I’m pretty sure she’s stronger, but they are very close. RJ has a list of all the channeler’s strengths. On that list, only 6 people are stronger than Nynaeve. It’s such a rare event that pretty much anytime we meet someone stronger than her, it’s explicitly said. There are two OP strength scales – an ‘old’ and a ‘new’. Nynaeve was the top of the female list for the ‘old’ list. Six are stronger on the ‘new’ list.

Brandon was pretty certain that Nynaeve is stronger than Mesaana, who isn’t particularly strong in forsaken terms.

Brandon was very open and willing to talk about this issue – people who care about these things should ask at every opportunity.

Q: Tell me what you can about Laras’ backstory. Is she an agent of the Kin?

A: Basically RAFO. Laras is in NS (which I don’t remember).

This lead to a fair amount of discussion about backstories – he doesn’t want to spoil something that could be revealed. So, I followed up with something like ‘presumably, if the prequels are written, we’ll learn more of Laras’. Brandon said yes, presumably.

Q: Are there any circumstances of death that could prevent the DO from resurrecting someone (other than balefire)?

A: Yes, but I’m not going to tell you what.

This lead to a fair amount of discussion about balefire and such. At one point, Brandon said ‘all forsaken other than Sammael who haven’t come back were balefired’. I immediately jumped on this and asked if that included Asmodean – Brandon said that he wasn’t talking about Asmodean (we all didn’t even want to go there), but this is further evidence of Brandon slipping hints that Asmodean was balefired. This lead to a small debate about Osan’gar – I didn’t think he was balefired, everyone else at the table thought he was.

Brandon also said that the DO would have liked very much to transmigrate Sammael but didn’t. Apparently, since he died by mashadar, Sammael was either unable to be transmigrated or it would have been a very bad idea. Basically, mashadar tainted Sammael’s thread somehow.

It was also mentioned that balefire does not mean that someone can’t be reborn into the patter. I was very surprised by this and hadn’t heard it before, but apparently Brandon has said it in previous Q&A’s. Brandon said he was also surprised but that Maria was very insistent about this – so if the DR was balefired, he could still be reborn.

Q: Did Rand directly have the DO’s permission to channel the TP?

A: It’s very difficult (but not impossible) to channel the TP without the DO’s direct permission.

This lead to lots of discussion about the whole Semirhage death scene. Basically, she felt betrayed by the DO, and Brandon says she’s a very astute person. Brandon also said that Moridin and the DO are on the same page with most things and that Moridin is the most trustworthy forsaken for the DO. My interpretation is that Rand channeled the TP through the link with Moridin, but this was not discussed. Also it was strongly implied that idea that DO served Semirhage up on a platter for Rand to balefire is true.

Q: You mention that SH has quite a few limitations on his power. Can you give us a few concrete examples of these limitations?

A: SH needs a minion to most of his work for him. Elza was essential to SH in getting things done.

This lead to lots of discussion about swearing to the shadow – basically, it’s a very bad idea and you forfeit some very basic protections when you do. SH has special power over those that swear to the DO, and the forsaken in particular. I asked about Alvairin’s special mark, and he said SH has similar power over her. The implication is that there are lots of ramifications for swearing to the DO. Brandon mentioned that this makes Verin all the more remarkable.

Q: Where did Cyndane’s new body come from?

A: Where have any of the new bodies come from? He then mentioned that it’s not confirmed who Cyndane is, though he didn’t refute me when we all said that it’s pretty certain.

I asked about her strength in the OP – Brandon says she’s very, very weak. This surprised me since I didn’t think she was that weak.

Q: Whatever happened to the kidnapped King of Illian – Matin Stepanos?

A: He’s still in the WT. Brandon thought about mentioning him a few times, but it just didn’t work out. It was implied that we’ll see further mention of this in ToM.

A few other interesting notes from my discussion and the general Q&A.

-There are over 4,000,000 words of notes

- Verin’s revelations will have ramifications throughout the last two books. Brandon is surprised that more people haven’t been asking about this.

- Maria and Peter lurk on lots of message boards to keep in touch with the what the fans are talking and theorizing about (Hi guys). They occasionally talk to Brandon about stuff, especially when they feel it’s something Brandon should know about. But Brandon generally keeps his distance so as not to influence his writing.

- His goal is 2000 words a day, but it doesn’t work like that. Some days are much more, others much less.

- RJ left detailed descriptions of people after the LB (make of that what you will)

- Hinderstrap is a re-imagining of the old ‘Stone Soup’ folk tale

- Michael Whelan will do the cover for the first WoK book.

- Tor will re-release the series with new cover art after it’s done. (Lots of discussion on this one at various times, but we’ll leave it off the record).

Enjoy - I've got some work to do and I'll check back in this evening.

URL for report:

[Note: This report was originally posted at the 13th Depository forums, but a login is required to read the forums there, so the URL given here is for a copy of the report posted at Theoryland.]

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